Senior Design Engineer

London, England, United Kingdom
10 days ago
Full time role


Modern Synthesis is a London based biomaterial company connecting the dots between biology, material science and design to craft the ...

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Job Description


Modern Synthesis is a venture-backed startup crafting the next generation of biomaterials by connecting the dots between biology, material science and design.

We’re on a mission to create sustainable materials which reduce the fashion industry’s dependence on petrochemicals - without sacrificing performance or creativity.

Our first material, which is grown by bacteria, is fully biodegradable and astonishingly strong. You can read more about it on our website.


We believe that big magic happens when disparate disciplines, perspectives and ideas collide.

As a team of biologists, chemists, designers, engineers, business experts, robots and microbes, we get to witness this magic on a daily basis. From our strong culture of debate (hot takes always welcome 🌶️) to our bi-weekly deep dives, we intentionally embed collaboration and growth into everything we do.

In line with this, we’re committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within both our organisation and the wider bioeconomy. The way we see it, a diverse and inclusive team is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s 1+1=3, which not only creates a rich work environment, but also makes good business sense.

We hire people, not roles, so we can be flexible on scope. We strongly encourage you to apply

if you think you’re qualified for a portion of this role, and can demonstrate a proven ability to take on new skills and challenges.



  • building with optimism and resilience, able to adapt and thrive in the face of challenges; vision and scale to help the world grow up from harmful past, bias for impact; push for new techniques, technologies, methods, capital; a new evolution in design and materials; desire for personal growth; a nod to the natural world and to how we develop our materials


  • community; desire for cross-pollination internally and externally; ability to lean on & adapt to one another; shared work towards a common goal; collaborations across scales–from microorganisms to large companies; our place and relationship without our network; influence within wider cultures of research, design, business, and fashion

By Design

  • intentionality, curiosity, and creativity built into process; inspiring our community by doing (rather than telling); appreciation of the maker and craftsmanship; contextualizes our work within fashion space; design as ‘interdisciplinary connector’ between different topics, processes, and developments


Are you excited to produce new high performance biomaterials? We’re looking for a Senior Design Engineer with experience in designing and improving complex production systems.

You will joining us at a hugely exciting time, developing and building new manufacturing equipment & tools as well as developing production processes and scaling these from pilot to manufacturing.

As we are a startup in a new field, this role will involve lots of fundamental development of equipment and requires a strong “hands on” mindset to be successful. You’ll be making a meaningful contribution to transition to a circular bioeconomy, fighting the climate crisis and plastic pollution.


  • Lead team and be hands on yourself in designing and build tools & machines for biomaterial & textile manufacturing infrastructure

  • Work across the business to feed in to strategic decision making and progression towards our Company Goals

  • CAD modelling, simulation and preparation of assembly & technical drawings

  • Create prototypes through external manufacturers or in our inhouse workshops (hands on building with metal, lathes, milling, cnc, additive)

  • Create prototypes utilising low cost sensors and physical computing tools (e.g Arduinos, Raspberry Pi)

  • Value analysis, de-risking and validation as continuous principles of our design ethos

  • Drive scale up development for continuous production (production process & planning, design & modelling)

  • Production system integration: Identify and transfer lab production parameters into pilot manufacturing

  • Troubleshoot manufacturing processes (directly discuss and analyse with production operators and production managers)

  • Create technical reports, engineering reports and SOPs for manufacturing

  • Set up new safety standards, guidelines & risk assessments. Revise existing policies

  • Lead engineering projects (scope, timeline, costs, stakeholder alignment)

  • Liaise with suppliers & external manufacturers

  • Research and source new equipment, components and materials

  • Present project progress and achievements to a variety of stakeholders

  • Manage and motivate small team

We welcome applicants that don’t necessarily tick all the boxes. If you feel that you tick most of them and are willing to learn the rest, we encourage you to apply.

  • Degree or extensive (5 years+) experience in Design Engineering. Mech Eng, Process Eng, Manufacturing or Industrial Design

  • Experience with developing industrial manufacturing processes

  • Expert knowledge and experience with engineering software packages and CAD tools

  • High proficiency in creating technical & assembly drawings

  • Coding experience (i.e. Arduino, Grbl, Gcode)

  • Great applied fabrication skills & mechanical materials knowledge

  • Analytical Mindset & data driven workflow

  • Very good problem solving skills: open to invent and find unusual solutions to unusual problems

  • Strong interpersonal skills - able to work with and support team members from different backgrounds and disciplines

  • Comfortable with rapid innovation cycles and constant growth that comes with working in a startup - proactive and flexible to take on new tasks and challenges

  • Passion for sustainability and impact

Beneficial experience:

  • Team lead/management experience

  • Textile manufacturing experience

  • Experience of quality-control procedures & process improvement methodologies (e.g. lean, agile)

  • Visual programming knowledge (Grasshopper)

  • Further coding experience (Python, C#)

  • Good working knowledge of high precision manufacturing with tight tolerancing

  • Knowledge of textile processing, roll to roll/continuous material production lines

  • Design and sourcing of pilot and demo scale equipment


  • Brand new, dog-friendly office and lab in Southwest London

  • Interdisciplinary team with opportunities for growth and career progression

  • Flexible working, both in terms of working hours and location

  • Tailored development support from world-leading experts and advisors

  • Bike to work scheme

  • Private health insurance including dental and vision stipends

  • Regular lunches and company events

  • Enhanced parental leave policy

  • Potential to create real, positive impact


Manager: Chief Technology Officer/Head of Engineering

Salary: £45,000 - £55,000 yearly

Desired start date: May 2023

Location: London (1 to 2 days WFH is possible with agreement from your team)

Please note you must have the right to work in the UK to apply for this job, as we do not currently have capacity to sponsor.


Round 0. Apply online with a cover letter (or introduction to yourself in another format) and CV and submit link(s) to your portfolio of work (nice to have, but not required).

Round 1. 30 minute exploratory interview where we’ll dive into your work history and motivations for applying to Modern Synthesis.

Round 2. 1 hour skills interview where we’ll explore the skills and knowledge you’ll bring to this role. Successful candidates will have a take home case study to complete before round 3.

Round 3. 1 hour case study review in-person interview where you walk us through your ideas and thinking on the case study. We will also give your a tour of our office and have you meet some of the wider team you would be interacting with in your role.

We recognise recruitment is not one-size-fits-all and we're happy to tailor this process to better meet the needs of individual applicants. Please email with any requests for support.

Modern Synthesis is a London based biomaterial company connecting the dots between biology, material science and design to craft the ...

View Company Profile